23 September 2011

Same old same old. #nlpoli

You will not be able to slide a sheet of paper, sez your humble e-scribbler, between the three parties in the general election.

They will be pandering for votes and promising an orgy of public spending.

And so far they are right on track.

The provincial Conservatives unleashed their Blue Book, likely named because it is starved of the oxygen of an original thought.

You can tell a party has been in power too long by the size of its campaign platform.  They run out of ideas.  They think that you can overwhelm people with verbiage and bullshit rather than stand behind a few ideas laid out plainly.

The Tories hit 75 pages, not counting the cover this time around.  Flip back and look at Roger Grimes’ monster manual that the Liberals produced in 2003 after 14 years in power.

Same idea.

It’s just taken the Tories seven years to exhaust their imagination reserve.

Now they are down to promises to think about doing something eventually.

Like public sector pensions:

• We will develop a long-term plan to reduce our unfunded public pension plan liabilities in a responsible manner by making set periodic payments.

Seven years in office and $4.0 billion in cash tied up in short-term investments and only now they will develop a plan – over an unspecified period of time – to try and fix the problem of unfunded pension liabilities.

Meanwhile they accuse the Liberals of being evil spenders for making a commitment to do something.

Interesting concept. 

You see government is already dealing with the unfunded liability right now.  They pay it out of general revenue, as the liabilities come due each year.  The Liberals proposed to do the same thing. Putting money into a fund to cover it off out of interest is one way of handling the pensions issue.  meeting it out of general revenue every year is another.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives promise to continue running things as they have.  That is hardly comforting to those who have paid attention to what they’ve done thus, as opposed to what they’ve claimed to do.

Meanwhile there are lots of plans to make plans. 

Wonderful stuff that since you cannot really hold any political party accountable for such vague and meaningless commitments as '"we will start working on writing down some ideas that we might implement if we ever have enough money…”.

And if there isn’t that, there’ll be stuff that adds up to precious little:

We will encourage schools to continue to draw attention to the successes and leadership of students and teachers at public assemblies and through other means in the school.

They forgot to say that they will do it now with New Energy!

The oil and gas section of the plan recycles old Tory commitments since 2003 and in one case – the natural gas royalty regime – carries one the Grits started in the late 1990s.

The fisheries section looks suspiciously familiar, right down to the pledge to create a fisheries loan board.  And like the Liberal commitment, the Tory one deliberately puts the words in lower case letters so that people might not confuse it with a Fisheries Loan Board.

Perhaps the funniest aspect of the Conservative platform – after the section on continuing a commitment to accountability – is the idea the whole thing will cost less than $200 million.

If the fisheries section is where the Tories and Grits are the same, then managing the money  is where the Tories and the Dippers share a common cause.

Any platform that includes the construction of a multi-billion megaproject and massive amounts of other capital spending by an administration that is notorious for its inability bring in anything on time and budget cannot deliver anything for a mere $137 million.

You cannot slide a sheet of paper in between the three parties in this election.  What differences there might be are purely a matter of degree and semantics.

No wonder so many people are frustrated and unmotivated to vote.

People want change and the parties are just offering four more years of the same old, same old.

- srbp -